Posted by: Cathy | August 15, 2018

Dream + Reality = Creativity with a Plan

“The dreamer rejects reality, the realist rejects the dream, and the artist embraces both dream and reality.” Eric Maisel

I was just reading “Becoming a Writer” by Dorothea Brande and she talks about this too, that “creative writing is a function of the whole man. The unconscious must flow freely and richly, bringing at demand all the treasures of memory, all the emotions, incidents, scenes, intimations of character and relationship which it has stored away in its depths; the conscious mind must control, combine, and discriminate between these materials without hampering the unconscious flow.”

I’m in the revision/editing phase of my novel and it’s not going as smoothly as the writing did, although part of that can be attributed to lapses in my outline before I even began to write my draft. The “unconscious” part was more fun, and I’m trying not to get mired down by the “conscious” part and keep moving it forward.

Creativity is the dream working with reality, or the dream can never become tangible; just as the novel is the first-draft plus the editing process, or the draft won’t stand the harsh light of day.

Back to the Maisel quote, I prefer the dream but I can also handle reality. I have the most fun with reality when it is in service to the dream! For instance, making my trips to Italia a reality.

What about you, where are you on the Dream-Reality spectrum?

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Posted by: Cathy | August 13, 2018

Are you living your life on purpose?

“Your presence on this earth is intentional and on purpose.” Monique DeBose

I think Monique meant “on purpose” that your presence wasn’t an accident; however, I heard a double meaning.

Is your presence on purpose? Are you living your life on purpose? Do you know what your purpose is, your reason?

To live on purpose, we live deliberately, with intention, fulfilling a purpose. Sometimes accomplishing goals gives us a sense of purpose, but I would argue that purpose is larger than any goal. Fulfilling a purpose is following a calling, a deeply held desire.

If you don’t know what your desire is, take some time to figure it out. Notice what you love to do and what those things might have in common.

If you have been avoiding your desire or pushing it aside, look at what is holding you back. Analyze your fears and weaknesses, and do whatever work you need to move forward and follow your desire.

If you are following your desire and living on purpose, talk about it! Tell other people how you manage, what your strategies are, what your failures have been. Set an example to show others how it is possible.

Live on purpose and follow your desire.

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“Negative reactions show you where you have work to do.” Cheryl Richardson

What gets your goat? What frosts your cookies? When you have a strong negative reaction to something, according to coach and writer Cheryl Richardson, it shows you where you have work to do.

For example, from my perspective, my male roommate “wastes” a lot of time playing computer games. I find this really irritating, because I don’t have a lot of time to waste. He is self-employed and maybe could be spending his time in a more productive fashion, whereas I have a full-time day job, write fiction, write for my coaching blog and newsletter, try to read books both fiction and self-development, sketch, paint, cook, exercise, do yoga, sleep, etc. I resent that he has all this apparent free time on a daily basis to goof off on the computer. Especially when he talks back to the game, it really frosts my cookies.

Obviously, he doesn’t see it as wasting time or he maybe he wouldn’t do it as often. Maybe it’s a stress relief for him or provides some other benefit I don’t see. Because really, it’s none of my business how he spends his time, as long as he continues to pay his half of the rent.

My anger over his behavior triggers a need that I have for more down time. I make choices to have many hobbies rather than have time to goof off on the computer. My anger is more about a doubt of my own choices rather than anything to do with his choices.

My anger shows me where I have work to do. I can reevaluate my choices, or recommit to my choices, but having anger over what he’s doing is just wasted energy.

Where do you have work to do?

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I believe that all creative energy inspires all other creative energy.

This is why artists do many different mediums; and how artists get inspiration and in turn inspire others.

When I’m in flow with my fiction writing, it’s easier for me to get started on a random sketch or think up a new recipe for dinner.

The stream of inspiration is all one; there isn’t one stream for writing and one for painting, etc. Writing or painting is what comes out after the inspiration comes in; like speaking in English or Italian, the sounds and shapes are a little different but they’re both expressing an idea.

Here are three ways to take in inspiration:
1. Go look at beautiful pieces of art or nature. Really focus on something beautiful and wonder about it.

2. Relax, daydream, let your brain get soft and fuzzy. A soft brain is more receptive and ideas will gently land on you like butterflies when you are still.

3. Fake it ’til you make it. Sketch whatever is in front of you, or write a poem about your cat. By showing up day in, day out, even doing “little” or “boring” projects, you grease the creative wheels inside you and will build up to more inspired projects.

Let yourself be inspired and use it as fuel to make your own creative inspirations. What inspires you today?

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Posted by: Cathy | August 1, 2018

Be an instrument of love

We are instrumental in our lives; no one has more power over our own lives than we do. Yet we can give our power away if we aren’t paying attention.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately… you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.” Eckhart Tolle

What kind of an instrument will you be today? One of harmony or discord? One of kindness or resentment? One of forgiveness or vengeance?

By seeking harmony, you develop more harmony. By doing what you love (creativity!), you develop more love.

On days when I do my creative work, I am more patient, more forgiving, more harmonious, and more loving.

Pay attention to what kind of instrument you are each day, and make a conscious effort to give yourself those qualities you are trying to cultivate around you, because that’s how you develop them. Be an instrument of love by doing more of what you love.
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Posted by: Cathy | July 30, 2018

“Bad” days are teachers, not reprimands

We all have good intentions. None of us ever leave the house intending to have a bad day. Rather than judging our weaknesses, we can look at bad days as teachers.

You can’t avoid everything in a bad day; accidents happen. But notice what you can take away.

For example, say you spilled coffee on your work shirt, which made you change clothes and leave the house late, so you were stuck in bad traffic, which made you late for a morning meeting, so you had to catch up on something else which made you late for lunch, which made you irritable and you snapped at your husband when you called him to request he pick up some take-out dinner on his way home.

For this bad day, you could take away a few tips.

  • Put on your work clothes after you’re done eating breakfast.
  • Have an alternate route to work printed in your car or saved on your phone.
  • Don’t schedule meetings before 9:00 am.
  • Have some crackers or nuts in a drawer in case you’re running late for lunch.
  • Do a 5-minute calming breath technique when you’re having a crazy day.

Don’t let yourself feel victimized by a bad day, and don’t judge yourself for not handling things better. Instead, take the empowered route and use your bad days as teaching moments.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 25, 2018

Fear is an excuse

Creative people have a second dirty F-word. Fear.

Fear of Failure. Fear of Success. Fear of Rejection. Fear of the Blank Page. Fear of Being Seen. Fear of Judgment. Fear of Admitting Being Afraid.

Those are just excuses to be small and not do what you know you are called to do. You don’t have time or energy for any of that crap. It’s easier to sit in fear, but do you want to live that way? It’s better to pull up your big-girl panties and stand up to fear.

Fear looks bigger when it’s hovering over you. As soon as you stand up and shine a light on it, it doesn’t look so big and scary.

First, acknowledge that you are feeling fear. Be gentle with yourself and do your favorite self-care practice.

Next really look at your fear. It’s probably masking some other issue. For example, if you have a fear of being judged, you probably have a shameful memory of being put on the spot in elementary school or something along those lines. Look at the real issue and see what you can learn from it.

Then notice what qualities you need to cultivate to overcome the fear. Again, if it’s a fear of being judged, try cultivating resilience. You could do that by joining a Toastmasters club or other supportive environment to practice putting yourself out in front of new people.

Fear is just an excuse to stay stuck. You can say No Thank You, and tell Fear to F’off!

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Posted by: Cathy | July 23, 2018

Creativity Camp Challenge

It’s summer (in the northern hemisphere) and that means it’s time again for my Creativity Camp Challenge!

Summer is a time for fun, adventure, and exploring. Apply these qualities to your creative life for some extra spark and inspiration! Get wildly creative!

To help you do this, take my Creativity Camp Challenge with four different activities combining creativity and nature: Wriking (writing-hiking), Alfresco Color, Image Hunt, and Nature Collage. Get out in nature and do some art!

Download this free workbook here!

Tell me about your Creativity Camp Challenge adventure on my Facebook page!
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Posted by: Cathy | July 18, 2018

Willpower doesn’t Work

If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that willpower doesn’t work.

Our will comes from our ego. At its core, it usually looks like rigidity and stubbornness. Our will is a set of rules established by the ego for black-and-white situations. I will do this or I will not do that. There is no flexibility, no gray area. Life isn’t black and white, and this is why willpower doesn’t work.

Creativity is a great problem-solver, and creativity comes from the subconscious, not the conscious/ego mind. Rather than setting a rule with the mind, try creating a container with the heart.

Say you are procrastinating on something, like finding time to do your fiction writing. By taking the problem into your heart, you can begin to unpack it. Why are you avoiding your project? The more you unpack it, the more you take your power back. Rather than trying to think through a problem, you can unpack and dissolve the problem. It won’t stay unpacked if it’s an old problem, but you can keep chipping away at it and building new habits to support your new outlook on the issue.

Heart-power is stronger than willpower, because it is receptive, understanding, and forgiving. The next time you’re struggling with a problem, try using your heart-power.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 16, 2018

Pay Attention and it will Pay Off

Pay attention to your strengths, weaknesses, habits, routines, and personal resources like time, energy, and focus. The more familiar you are with these elements of your life, the more you can make them work for you and improve your quality of life.

  • By being aware of your strengths, you gain confidence and competency, and you know when you can say “hell yes” to new projects.
  • By being aware of your weaknesses, you know where to seek more knowledge and experience so you can transform those into opportunities for improvement or ask for help.
  • By being aware of your habits and routines, you can set up your life and environment to help you be successful and minimize distractions or less-than-optimal behaviors.
  • By being aware of your personal resources, you can manage your time, energy, and focus to the best effect, getting more and better work done on your goals.

Get to know yourself and how you operate in your day-to-day life.
Pay attention and it will pay off.

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